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Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay (Hardcover)

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Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay Cover Image
By Susan Hood, Sally Wern Comport (Illustrator)
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Staff Reviews

As the site of Paraguay’s main landfill, the town of Cateura might not obviously inspire hope for its residents, many of whom earn a living scavenging and selling others’ trash. When environmental engineer and musician Favio Chavez decided to offer music lessons in Cateura, he realized he didn’t have enough instruments for his students. Furthermore, having an expensive instrument could be considered risky in an area where “a violin is worth more than a house.” With help, Chavez devised a solution: create instruments using recycled materials found in the landfill! Ada’s Violin is an inspiring story, and the Recycled Orchestra has now traveled around the world sharing music.

~ Eight Cousins

— From Holiday Picks 2016


From award-winning author Susan Hood and illustrator Sally Wern Comport comes the extraordinary true tale of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, an orchestra made up of children playing instruments built from recycled trash.

Ada Ríos grew up in Cateura, a small town in Paraguay built on a landfill. She dreamed of playing the violin, but with little money for anything but the bare essentials, it was never an option...until a music teacher named Favio Chávez arrived. He wanted to give the children of Cateura something special, so he made them instruments out of materials found in the trash. It was a crazy idea, but one that would leave Ada—and her town—forever changed. Now, the Recycled Orchestra plays venues around the world, spreading their message of hope and innovation.

About the Author

Susan Hood has written more than 200 picture books. She has received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and her book Spike, The Mixed-Up Monster won the 2013 International Latino Award and was selected for the Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended List. The Tooth Mouse was named a 2013 Best Book of the Year by Bank Street and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center. Prior to becoming an author, Susan was a children’s magazine editor at Scholastic and Instructor Magazine, a book editor at Sesame Workshop, and the Children’s Content Director of Nick Jr. MagazineAda’s Violin is her latest nonfiction picture book and Lifeboat 12 is her first novel in verse. Visit her at

Sally Wern Comport has illustrated numerous picture books and novels, including Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Six Guiding Beliefs (as told by his niece)Brave Margaret: An Irish AdventureHanging Off Jefferson’s Nose: Growing Up on Mt. Rushmore; and the Spy Mice series. She has also translated her picture making skills to various large-scale public, private, and institutional artworks. Sally lives with her husband and two daughters in Annapolis, Maryland, where she operates Art at Large Inc. Learn more at

Praise For…

"The mixed-media collages are a particular effective medium for this true story, layering images of Ada and the orchestra over the landfill. The nuances of the subject may strike a stronger chord with adults rather than children, but the interesting visuals and the underlying message of hope and perseverance should help this find an audience."
— Booklist

"Comport's complex, digitally enhanced collages combine acrylics, drawing, and layered typographic elements, conveying both the oppressive omnipresence of garbage and the functional beauty of the handcrafted instruments. . . . Pair with the suggested video links to experience the music of a remarkable, resilient cultural community. "
— Kirkus Reviews

*“A virtuoso piece of nonfiction, gloriously told and illustrated.”
— School Library Journal, Starred Review

* “Comport (Love Will See You Through) employs a vibrant collage technique…to form colorful, almost ethereal backdrops. . .[An] uplifting, instructive story.”
— Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"The illustrations, compilations of torn paper, paint, and pen and ink illustrations, add to the feeling of being within the landfill, and are a beautiful representation of the location...Highly Recommended."
— School Library Connection

Recipient of the E.B. White Read Aloud Award
Product Details
ISBN: 9781481430951
ISBN-10: 1481430955
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016
Pages: 40
Language: English